Skip to main content

tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  May 18, 2017 11:00pm-12:01am PDT

11:00 pm
lemon. "cnn tonight" starts right now. breaking news because of course it's a defiant president doubling down on the eve of his crucial first foreign trip. this is "cnn tonight." i am don lemon. after an uncharacteristic silence from the commander in chief, he can hold out no longer and speaks out, first in the series of tweets calling the naming of a special counsel witchhunt, bad for the country, his words. his own alternative reality in the midst of a crisis of his on creation, all the while insisting he did not ask james comey to back off michael flynn. but new details tonight in the "new york times," the president contacting comey, made him, quote, unsettled. members of the president's own inner circle now urging him to lawyer up. let get right to mark preston,
11:01 pm
jeff zeleny and michael isikoff. president trump held his first news conference since the avalanche of breaking stories this week and he was asked about the comey memo. let's take a look. >> at any time urge former fbi director james comey to back down or close the investigation into michael flynn? and also as you -- >> no, no. next question. >> an emphatic no. what else did the president say? >> don, you get the sense that the president did not want to talk about that. there had a pushback on this. it was an opportunity for him to give his side of the story, his rebuttal to all of the information that we've been learning in the memorandums that the fbi director was holding and really keeping in realtime here. but the president made clear that he's angry by this idea of an independent investigation
11:02 pm
into this. it's the last thing he wanted. of course it's a distraction, he called it a witchhunt. he i didn't mince words as he talked about what he really thinks about this investigation. let's watch. >> well, i respect the move but the entire thing has been a witchhunt. and there is no collusion between certainly myself and my campaign, but i can always speak for myself and the russians, zero. i think it divides the country. i think we have a very divided country because of that and many other things. >> well, he's right about the fact it's a divided country, no question at all about that. but in terms of a witch-hunt, don, you couldn't find many republicans agreeing with that today in washington. across the board to the house, to the senate, across this town, many republicans thought this was a good thing that, there is a special counsel looking into this, someone of the stature of a mueller, the former fbi director for 12 years, from 9/11 forward, looking into this.
11:03 pm
but the president calling it a witch-hunt suggests there's nothing there, suggests there's a motive here. the reality here is he said again and again and again there's no collusion. we don't know the answer to that question. that's what this investigation is supposed to find out. if there was collusion between the trump campaign and any russian operatives. we don't know that there has been, we can't get ahead of ourselves here. this is a serious matter. the fbi says it's a serious matter. his firing of the fbi director last week started all of this. >> that's why it's a special investigation. there's also some new reporting tonight in the "new york times," a phone call call between president trump and james comey. let me read part of it. president trump called james comey weeks after he took office and asked him when the federal authorities were going to put out word that the president not under investigation. he told mr. trump if he wanted to know details about the bureau's investigation, he
11:04 pm
should not contact him directly but instead follow the proper procedure. this is yet another example of inappropriate pressure and inappropriate contact by the president. >> yes, no question. the only two questions are did he do it knowingly to lean on comey? or did he blunder into it because he didn't realize what you can or can't do? i guess my default position is the latter, that trump does and says many things that he shouldn't be doing, like with the colombian president today essentially saying, hey, i appreciate your answer on the wall but let me tell you the real answer. >> let me tell you your answer for you. >> he is used to being the face and cheerleader of a business. he's not used to being the president of the united states. i think when he got briefings to the extent that he got them, when he got briefings on what you say and what you don't say, i'm not sure he listened all
11:05 pm
that well. as a result, these things happen. comey was probably taken aback by the very question, but my guess is trump didn't even know necessarily he was doing anything wrong. he just wanted to know the answer. >> he doesn't realize as i've been saying that he's a public servant. i want to ask you guys about this. also in this report, we've all seen that video where comey's at the white house and the president calls him over, sort of awkward and then james comey walks over and it looked like the president i thought was trying to give him a kiss on the cheek, when he leans in, i thought maybe it's a whisper but it's weird. here's a video of comey at the white house. comey didn't want to go. mr. comey, who is 6'8", was wearing a dark blue suit that day told mr. wittes he tried to blend in with the blue curtains in the back of the room in hopes that mr. trump would not spot him and call him out. but mr. trump spotted him and
11:06 pm
called him out and as he called him across the room, he was determined there wasn't going to be a hug and it was bad enough there was going to be a handshake, and comey reached out for a handshake and the president grabbed his hand and it one person with a handshake and another hugging. let's look at the video. >> he's become more famous than me. [ applause ] >> come on, mark. that was really awkward, don't you think? >> two reactions. one, it a good thing comey was the head of the fbi and not the cia. clearly he was not good enough to be a spy and to hide into those curtains as he was trying to do. but also the awkwardness, it
11:07 pm
like going over an aunt's house and her trying to give you a kiss and try to pull you in and you just don't want to do it. for comey, though, being very serious here, that's a very awkward moment for him. i do agree with chris that trump doesn't understand these things but i would think at this point in his career, in his life, he should understand those things. i think we all agree on that but no one's ever told donald trump no. >> the reason he was there is because those guys had helped him out, protected him -- >> they were law enforcement officials who had -- >> he wanted to thank them and comey didn't want to go but he said he needed someone to represent the fbi. michael isikoff, what do you make of that? it was an awkward moment. >> it was an awkward moment but there's been so many trump has had with director comey and law enforcement and the justice department in general. it is clear he doesn't accept the boundaries that have been basically laying out the
11:08 pm
guidelines for interactions between the white house and the justice department and the fbi for years, and that's why, you know, when -- just look at his reaction to the appointment of bob mueller as special counsel. the first thing he says is he expects this to be wrapped up quickly. and then he does this tweet saying it a witch-hunt. so he's essentially saying that the special counsel investigation is groundless. it's not needed, he wants it wrapped up. i really think is something we got to watch here, is he laying the groundwork for down the road, a dismissing, a firing of bob mueller, which he has the power to do. unlike under the old independent counsel statute where the independent counsel is a creature of the court, bob
11:09 pm
mueller can be fired by president trump and it something that everybody should be thinking about down the road if this investigation goes done and goes on in directions the president doesn't like. >> jeff zeleny, as if there isn't enough chaos in this administration, imagine him firing mueller. come on. i guess it a real possibility but just imagine the optics of that. >> michael raises a very good point. we draw so many parallels to watergate. this is a moment in every respect obviously but particularly on the law there. it is certainly a possibility but, look, i think that the optics of that would be horrible. i mean, i can't imagine what congress would do, but the term witch hunt, there's one person in this town that i've heard using that term today, that's the president. there aren't republicans on capitol hill saying that. speaker ryan was asked directly about it say let the facts go where they go here but
11:10 pm
republicans are by and large, at least the ones speaking out are supportive of this here. so the president is a bit on an island here in terms of calling it a witch hunt. he is trying to delegitimize this whole episode, the whole investigation right from the very beginning, as he's trying to do with the media and other things. we'll see if it works or not. i think there are enough reasons to believe this investigation should go forward. and again, it only one of them. the house and senate are still investigating even though they've been watered down somewhat because of this. >> and, chris, there's also another person who used the term witch hunt. this is from the 1970s. i believe this is 1973. nixon sees witch hunt insiders say and by our very own carl bernstein and also bob woodward. >> i've never heard of those two guys. look, there's no chance that donald trump knew that but this is the problem. >> but isn't that the problem, if you don't know the history? >> yes, you're doomed to repeat
11:11 pm
it. he doesn't have any sense of what circumstances dictate what reaction. so everything coming out of white house last night was, don, it's a measured reaction, he was angry about the special prosecutor but we put out that statement, he's good with it. what do you wake up to at 7:30 this morning? donald trump witch hunt, persecuted. the reality of the situation is any time he speaks publicly, you see the real donald trump, the coast guard commencement speech where he says i'm the most persecuted person ever, you have to learn to be like me and fight, fight, fight. in that bilateral press conference with the colombian president, he reveals what he really thinks which is, oh, yeah, it's fine, the special prosecutor's fine. that's said, it's terrible and this is a witch hunt.
11:12 pm
if you think the special prosecutor makes sense or you try to undermine it. you can't say those two things in back-to-back sentences unless you're donald trump. but watch what he says, not what's coming out of the white house. he's very transparent about what he believes and he doesn't fake it or doesn't really try to fake it and do the political thing. >> listen, michael, we all wondered, everyone wondered how long it would take for him to respond to this. i think he was off of twitter maybe 17 hours, which is i think the longest time he's been off twitter but he does and many of his supporters like to call people snowflakes and he is probably, if you look at his behavior, he may be the biggest snowflake of them all. >> right. look, so much of this entire problem that the white house has with this investigation has been fueled by his own behavior. and even today, if i could mention the reporting that we did today about how he's still
11:13 pm
in touch with michael flynn, who is the subject of this investigation. even sending him, as we reported today, a message to, quote, stay strong. now, that is something that any lawyer would say -- would tell the president you can't do, you can't be communicating with the subject of a criminal investigation. the optics of that coming after what we know he said to jim comey, asking him to back off the investigation of flynn, its is certainly all the ingredients of, you know, that could be made for a case of witness tampering and obstruction. now, the response from the white house and from flynn's defenders are, no, these are two guys who are loyal, who were in the foxhole together in the campaign and he's just reaching out to a good, loyal friend and trying to buck him up when he's down on his luck.
11:14 pm
and maybe that's the case. but to do it under these circumstances is only guaranteeing more problems for himself. you can bet that bob mueller will want to see any -- all communications that president trump has had with michael flynn. >> that may work when you run the company but not when you run the country. thank you all. i appreciate it. when we come back, why my next guess says james comey and robert mueller could be the two men to bring down the president. e*trade's powerful trading tools, give you access to in-depth analysis, and a team of experienced traders ready to help if you need it. it's like having the power of a trading floor, wherever you are. it's your trade. e*trade for 10 years my tempur-pedic has adapted to my weight and shape. so i sleep deeply and wake up ready to perform. now through june 11th, save $600 when you buy select tempur-pedic adjustable mattress sets. find your exclusive retailer at
11:15 pm
i count on my dell small for tech advice. with one phone call, i get products that suit my needs and i get back to business. ♪ ♪
11:16 pm
i am totally blind. i lost my sight in afghanistan. if you're totally blind, you may also be struggling with non-24. calling 844-844-2424. or visit
11:17 pm
this and it's also a story about people. and while we make more e-commerce deliveries to homes than anyone else in the country we never forget... that your business is our business. the united states postal service. priority: you at where instead of payinging a befor middlemen,em. we work directly with family farms to deliver higher quality ingredients for less than you pay at the store. get $30 off at president trump saying the appointment of a special counsel hurts the country and calls the russian investigation the biggest witch hunt in history. it's not. and i want to thank my guest for coming on. you wrote a biography on robert mueller. you wrote an article "what
11:18 pm
donald trump needs to know about bob mueller and james comey." what's the answer? what does he need to know? >> these are two men who actually have had very parallel lives over the last 20 years. they have risen into the elite ranks of the highest levels of the justice department and worked actually very closely together in the years after 9/11 when james comey was deputy attorney general and bob mueller was fbi director. they have a partnership that's longstanding, deeply trust one another and were really the two central figures in what is now the famous 2004 hospital room incident involving john ashcroft and the bush white house and a showdown over the nsa's terrorist surveillance program. >> tell us more about that. they show up at his hospital room in the middle of the night but go on, tell us about that. >> this was something that unfolded over the first couple of months of 2004, culminating
11:19 pm
in march when this program known as code name stellar wind was due to expire. and james comey believed under the justice department's rules it was unconstitutional and illegal and he went toe to toe with the white house and vice president cheney to get it shut down. vice president cheney disagreed, thought it was an important part of the government's tool kit and told james comey that the program would kill americans if it was allowed to expire and that blood would be on jim comey's hands. it culminated in this dramatic hospital room visit to john ashcroft's bedside where jim comey, andy card, the white house chief of staff and the white house counsel all met to try to force ashcroft against comey's wishes to sign off on the program. comey and bob mueller teamed up and brought that to a halt.
11:20 pm
>> it shows you how dogged he is in his pursuit, when he's given something, he sees it to the end. you said that comey told you he enlisted mueller's help because, quote, i knew that no one cared about losing a deputy attorney general but no president could weather losing an fbi director. you say that phrase has been rattling in your mind for the past week. explain that to me. >> one of the things that's worth thinking about with that phrase is that the idea that even in 2004, bob mueller was someone so widely respect and so apolitical, that if bob mueller made this argument to the white house, it would be a clear there was no hidden agenda, it was just bob mueller doing the thing that he thought was the best for justice in america. and that was really important back then and i think it's a
11:21 pm
really important lesson to think about now with bob mueller as the special counsel. >> you also write, it is as if after having an unrelated disagreement over movie trivia in a bar, trump has challenged usain bolt to a 100 yard dash or john cena to a cage match to the death. so, you don't see this ending well for the president, i gather. >> this is a territory where bob mueller and jim comey have spent their entire careers. they understand deeply how to do these prosecutions, how they unfold. mueller is a tenacious prosecutor, wherever the investigation leads. the good news, though, for president trump is if there is really no there there, i think bob mueller is perhaps the only person in america who could declare donald trump and his campaign is actually innocent and that would be respected and trusted by both political parties.
11:22 pm
>> how do you see donald trump's relationship with the truth impacting this investigation? >> when you look at the history of special investigations like this, whether it's ken starr or the investigation of the valerie plame leak in the 2000s, often the controversies that end of growing out of these cases are not the core, they're the perjury or the obstruction of the investigations as they unfold. for an administration that has a challenged relationship with the truth, the first instinct is not going to be to tell bob mueller and the investigators the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. >> and that's where you get yourself in trouble. garrett, thank you, i appreciate it. >> my pleasure. >> joining me is former attorney general alberto gonzalez, dean of the university of law. thank you for joining us.
11:23 pm
where do you see this investigation going? as many experts have pointed out, for bill clinton the investigation started with whitewater, ended up with monica lewinsky. >> it really hard to predict, isn't it? obviously bob mueller has been given wide latitude to do this investigation and sometimes this is very hard to predict where investigations are going to go because today we don't know of certain facts and certain incidents and certain actions and certain statements have been made. it really not made public. so it really hard to predict. also, it's hard to predict this is going to take. you also have investigations going on in congress, the fbi, bob mueller investigation may conflict with the congressional investigation. bob may decide to wait and let the investigation proceed to a certain measure.
11:24 pm
we don't know if this investigation is it going to get close to the oval office, might be there be an assertion of executive privilege? that might have to be litigated. again, many unanswered questions here. >> which one would trump the other? no pun intended, the fbi investigation, wouldn't that trump all of them? >> not necessarily. if it connects with the senate investigation, there's a very important witness, and a grant of immunity may jeopardize the ability of the prosecution to prosecute that witness. so again, there needs to be some level of coordination between these ongoing investigations, otherwise we may see a situation where justice is not done simply by virtue of the fact that congress may want to get more information public about what really happened here but in doing so it may in fact hurt the investigation.
11:25 pm
so these are all things that have to be coordinated and will be coordinated so that the american people can be assured that at the end of the day, we know what really happened here. >> in full transparency as it regards robert mueller, you have your own history with him involving the bush era surveillance program. i talked to my last guest about that. you came down on different sides. is he the right guy for this job, though? >> there is but there's so much about what your last guest said that's just incorrect. for example, it want in the middle of the night, it was 7:00. bob mueller wasn't in the hospital room, he had left by the time we got there, there was no great confrontation. and the position ultimately championed by jim comey, the chief judge of the fiza court determined that the bush administration position was a lawful position. there's a lot of myth about what actually happened here, which had three key components.
11:26 pm
jim comey approved two of them. it was just one component of the program that he had an issue with. but to answer your question, yes, mueller has a great deal of experience with the fbi. >> do you think the president opened up a can of worms when he fired james comey? >> if that means finding out what's going to happen here, with or without the fbi, i think james comey will find out what happened here. i really to. and having the experience of someone like bob mueller, it makes that task easier. we would find it out if not through them, perhaps through congress or the media. it's really difficult to hide
11:27 pm
any kind of wrongdoing. i think we're going to get to the bottom of this. >> it's good to hear you have trust in the american media. when we come back -- president trump is hours away from his first trip. president trump, will all of his problems at home follow him abroad? i realize that ah, that $100k is not exactly a fortune. well, a 103 how long did it take you two to save that? a long time. then it's a fortune. i told you we had a fortune. get closer to your investment goals with a conversation.
11:28 pm
heri think i might burst..... totally immersed weekenders. whatever kind of weekender you are, there's a hilton for you. book your weekend break direct with and join the summer weekenders. ...doesn't happen by accident.
11:29 pm
♪ ♪ i'm dr. kelsey mcneely and some day you might be calling me an energy farmer. ♪ energy lives here. a 10-speed direct-shift 5.0transmission.ine. a meticulously crafted interior. all of these are feats of engineering. combining them with near-perfect weight distribution... a feat of amazing. experience the first-ever 471-horsepower lexus lc 500 or the multistage hybrid lc 500h. experience amazing.
11:30 pm
but we've got the get tdigital tools to help. now with xfinity's my account, you can figure things out easily, so you won't even have to call us. change your wifi password to something you can actually remember, instantly. add that premium channel, and watch the show everyone's talking about, tonight. and the bill you need to pay? do it in seconds.
11:31 pm
because we should fit into your life, not the other way around. go to president trump leaves tomorrow on his first international trip since taking office. he's making five stops starting in riyadh, saudi arabia, followed by jerusalem and vatican city and then on to brussels for meetings with nato leaders and to sicily for the g-7 meeting. nicholas krzystof is here, columnist for the "new york times" and hello to both of you. nick, we'll start with you. i'm going to look at my notes. the president fired james comey, shared classified information with the russians, reports surfaced that said comey wrote in a memo that president trump asked him to end the
11:32 pm
investigation into flynn. now, there's a special prosecutor to handle the mess. trump calls it a witch hunt. what's your reaction to this? >> it's a tsunami. when he called it a witch hunt, these are self-inflicted wounds. these are not other people saying he was born abroad or something. president trump had something historically of a symbiotic relationship with the press and frankly when he was in campaign mode, i think that frankly cable television in particular delivered -- he delivered good ratings for them and i think that they kept the camera on him. and i think that now that he's in the white house, it's a very different kind of relationship and there is much more rigorous fact checking and what he does matters and policy matters. so he's shooting himself in the foot right and left. >> he can't pick up the phone and pretend to be his own p.r.
11:33 pm
agent and pick up the phone and schmooze people. that doesn't happen when you're president of the united states. >> and the camera is always on you. you can't b.s. people anymore. it not about a great sound bite you deliver, it about what actually happens. >> it's about actually delivering. r robyn, president leaves for a trip tomorrow. maggie haberman and michael sheer are reporting in the "new york times" that the president has told friends he's not looking forward to this trip. how essential is it to be prepared for a trip like this? >> it's an extraordinary trip. it very ambitious. he's going to the birthplace of the three great religions, he's going to see the leaders of nato. this is a vitally important trip for establishing himself abroad. he's had a hard time acting presidential during his first 100-plus days and he has to deliver in a very short period of time the image of a commander
11:34 pm
in chief in control with a vision of the foreign policy of the earth and there's an impression this is a president with very limited foreign policy experience and he's trying to build an aero version of nato, push the arab peace process into yet another new round. you know, he wants to build a coalition that will counter isis, al qaeda, and extremism generally and a counter to iran. it's a very ambitious agenda. it's very hard to see how he's going to establish what he wants to do in a short period of time with all this drama at home hanging over him. >> nick, the piece in "the new york times," the one i just referenced, it says, quote, mr. trump's advisers acknowledge they are concerned about his off-script eruptions and his tendency to be swayed by
11:35 pm
flattery and that foreign leaders will put him in situations that he will not know how to handle. and they may have tried to caution him about various scenarios. do you think the president -- do you think he's going to be his own worst enemy abroad? >> you know, i think we'll see, we'll see nervously. he can deliver. he's going to give a number of important speeches on the trip and he can deliver a speech from a teleprompter effectively as he did in his state of the union and inaugural addresses. the problem is when he goes off script, there's going to be plenty occasions that he may want to do that the and there's a risk that he will want to pal around with somebody. for example, the saudi leaders may want the get him to commit the joining an attack on a yes, ma'ammy pa yemeni port. and that would be catastrophic if he were to do that.
11:36 pm
there are just a million places where he could make commitments and say things that would be embarrassing or worse for the u.s. >> i want to know, robin, the president is also going to head to israel and this comes a couple of days after it was revealed that he gave russian diplomats intelligence was in that may have come from israel and they believe came from israel. do you think the president will be able to smooth things over with our key ally? >> at the end of the day, israel needs the united states more than the united states needs israel. this is a longstanding relationship of spell intelligence. i think it will have far less impact that it will have with some of our other allies. i think bebe netanyahu is probably far more nervous of what president trump plans to do on the peace process. what he's going to ask of israel the this is a president who has said publicly doesn't think the peace process is at difficult as people have envisioned.
11:37 pm
as we know from the many presidents who preceded him, the peace process is the toughest nut to crack anywhere in the world diplomatically. i think the great challenge will be not the speeches he gives but it those one-on-one exchanges where leaders will be asking things of him and he doesn't have the in-depth knowledge of the world or understanding of the real nuances and could get tripped up in terms of the kind of commitments he may end up making. let's just hope that some of the foreign policy advisers, national security adviser h.r. mcmaster and secretary of defense james mattis are with him to kind of advise him and make sure that he doesn't wade into dangerous waters. >> nick, i'm looking at your piece here called "dangerous times for trump and the nation." you write, another risk for an embattled and paranoid leader at home who feels that he may be
11:38 pm
going down the tubes anyway. in domestic policy, presidents are constrained by the courts in what they can cause. in foreign policy a president has a largely free hand and the ability to launch nuclear strikes that would pretty much destroy the world. is this a real concern of yours? >> this is something that has been talked about among the international security community for a while, and the fact that we now have a serious and criminal -- serious investigation of trump and the campaign and possible collusion with russia makes everyone a little more nervous. the obvious parallel is with president nixon in his late days. >> you said 1974 when nixon's presidency was collapsing his defense secretary secretly instructed the military not to carry out any white house order to use nuclear weapons unless confirmed by him or henry kissinger. would that happen now? >> i don't think jim mattis is going to send that message
11:39 pm
tomorrow but i'm sure jim mattis knows about it. this is a failous incident in security policy. it certainly that was completely unconstitutional but utterly the right thing to do, utterly wise. at that time nixon was drinking heavily, he was emotionally unstable. i would hope down the road if something similar seems to be happening to donald trump and we have of apprehension of our leaders, and we do have some good adult supervision around trump, that they will give a similar order to the military that if launch orders come, then they should be ignored. >> let's hope we don't get to that point. >> robin, "time" magazine shows the white house getting a makeover. the stories of russia looming over the trump administration. does this cover how the rest of the world views the white house right now? >> i think the rest of the world has a lot of concerns about the relationship, what might have been happening in the run-up to the campaign, how unsophisticated it might have
11:40 pm
been, the part the russians had in trying to manipulate our elections. their concern that maybe russia will try to influence their own election, as they did with the french election reebtly. so i think there is a deep concern about the relationship here about the lack of sophistication in the trump campaign, that it actually could have been manipulated in some ways or that the russians may have tried to manipulate the trump campaign. have tried to manipulate the trump campaign. so i think that it is a concern. i think they're more concerned about how this plays out and the instability in the united states. everyone wants a strong america. the united states is at the end of the day for all its flaws and all its mistakes, it is still the most moral nation, it is the one that when there are conflicts, if the united states doesn't get involved, it hard to mobilize others elsewhere in the world. the vast majority of countries,
11:41 pm
even those that doesn't like us very much, want to see a kind of stable -- a stable set of rules of engagement so they know -- >> they turn to the united states for guidance and for stability. thank you, robin, thank you, nick. when we come back -- the president calling the investigation a witch hunt but will it threaten his own agenda? life. intelligent technology can help protect it. the all-new audi q5 is here.
11:42 pm
atmore than one flavor, oruch texture, or a good clean salad is so much more than green. and with panera catering, more for your event.
11:43 pm
panera. food as it should be. [vo] the grille is distinctive. but it's usually seen from the rear. the all-new audi q5 is here.
11:44 pm
our breaking news tonight, president trump on defense over the decision to name a special counsel in the russian investigations. let's discuss it with our panel. good evening to all of you.
11:45 pm
alice, the president calling the entire thing a witch hunt. he tweeted today he's the most unfairly treated president in history. are the republicans proud of the president's victim posture? >> that depends on who you ask. we all can acknowledge that a lot of the issues he is facing are self-inflicted wounds. right now with the current situation, the silence among many republicans is deafening. when we do hear from some, we have some coming out saying this is like watergate, some are saying the white house is in a downward spiral but more than anything, many republicans are now saying let's wait, now that a special counsel has been appointed, let them do their job, follow the facts where they lead and let them do their job. meanwhile the republicans here in washington are focusing on getting their agenda through, getting it passed. and we saw from speaker ryan yesterday, focusing on pro-growth tax reform. making sure they get rid of
11:46 pm
regulati regulations. working on their version of health care. in it's way it's a bless we go have this counsel. >> kevin, is any of that getting through? because the president is off, you know, saying things and doing things and tweeting things press conferences about other things, when he could use the occasion of having the special counsel appointed and say, listen, i can't talk about that and we're going to move on with our agenda. >> well, alice is right in that the republican party's salvation does lie in promoting their agenda, fulfilling the promises that they made to the american public in 2016. but, yes, it is certainly a huge distraction. i mean, if you're up on capitol hill right now, you're not getting as many questions about tax reform or health care as you are where you stand on the bombshell of the day. this week in washington has felt like five months when it comes to revelations that come out every day about the white house.
11:47 pm
for members of congress having to relitigate that every single day and then possibly go home and relitigate it as well, it does provide a huge distraction for them. >> ana navarro, maybe you asked the question yourself, at what point do republicans really start distancing themselves from the president? what do you think? >> i think today was an important point when lindsey graham came out of the briefing with deputy attorney general rosenstein that this had possibly gone from a counterintelligent investigation to a criminal investigation, that has to have had an effect on a lot of republicans. the word criminal means a lot. i can tell you it made my jaw drop and made me look at things in a very different light. and i think republicans are
11:48 pm
going to have to do what paul ryan has been saying all along, which is walk and chew gum at the same time. we sit there day after day listening to the speaker's press conference, hearing him try to speak and talk to us about tax reform and health care, and i think most of us are sitting there going okay, paul, that's really nice but can you please get on to the really meaty stuff? look, a lot of america is going around right now with paper bags they're breathing into on the side of their cars. these are daily revelations, these are hourly revelations. people are afraid to be away from the wi-fi or away from the internet or away from the tv because you don't know what other shoe will drop when. when the country is living in a state of anxiety, republicans and democrats are having to go home and face constituents who are screaming at them about this issue at town halls and at constituent meetings. so this is not something that they can sweep away. at the same time, you've got a
11:49 pm
white house with 36%, 37% approval who are in crisis management mode hourly, and you're hearing hourly that different people might be about to get fired. it is a lot of drama going on. >> i have to -- i've got to ask you, matt lewis, what do you think of that? i'm speaking to people and they say, my gosh, every single alert i get, i have palpitations, like the "snl" skit, can i just get one alert a day from cnn that doesn't give me a heart attack. >> yeah, you take a nap at 5:00 in the afternoon and you could miss a huge news story. this takes a toll on journalists who have to cover this constantly. there's not a lot of sympathy for journalists -- >> this wasn't a journalist i was speaking to. this is just an average person who pays attention to the news. >> it's overwhelming, it never stops. i think that donald trump likes drama. some of this is donald trump being trump.
11:50 pm
you know, he's created a really big reality show and he likes to feed drama. but i think there is getting to be some trump fatigue and i think that if you're going to start to see republicans walking away from this guy, some of it is just the accretion of every day there's another scandal, another shoe to drop. >> 2015 -- >> there's five scandals a day, not one. >> 2015, ana, my friend who i spoke to was netflix and chill, 2017 is news alert and freak out. >> yeah. listen, don. i had the misfortune of trying to start a cleanse the week. let me tell you. there's no way people can you can't give up anything. you need as many coping mechanisms as you can have. >> all right. we'll move on. we'll continue our conversation on the other side of the break. don't go anywhere.
11:51 pm
♪ ♪ depression is a tangle of multiple symptoms. ♪ that's why there's trintellix, a prescription medication for depression. trintellix may help you take a step forward in improving your depression. tell your healthcare professional right away if your depression worsens, or you have unusual changes in mood, behavior or thoughts of suicide. antidepressants can increase these in children, teens and young adults. do not take with maois. tell your healthcare professional about your medications, including migraine, psychiatric
11:52 pm
and depression medications, to avoid a potentially life-threatening condition. increased risk of bleeding or bruising may occur, especially if taken with nsaid pain relievers, aspirin or blood thinners. manic episodes or vision problems may occur in some people. may cause low sodium levels. the most common side effects were nausea, constipation and vomiting. trintellix had no significant impact on weight in clinical trials. ask your healthcare professional about trintellix. as after a dvt blood clot,ital i sure had a lot to think about. what about the people i care about? ...including this little girl. and what if this happened again? i was given warfarin in the hospital, but wondered, was this the best treatment for me? so i asked my doctor. and he recommended eliquis.
11:53 pm
eliquis treats dvt and pe blood clots and reduces the risk of them happening again. yes, eliquis treats dvt and pe blood clots. eliquis also had significantly less major bleeding than the standard treatment. both made me turn around my thinking. don't stop eliquis unless your doctor tells you to. eliquis can cause serious and in rare cases fatal bleeding. don't take eliquis if you have an artificial heart valve or abnormal bleeding. if you had a spinal injection while on eliquis call your doctor right away if you have tingling, numbness, or muscle weakness. while taking eliquis, you may bruise more easily ...and it may take longer than usual for bleeding to stop. seek immediate medical care for sudden signs of bleeding, like unusual bruising. eliquis may increase your bleeding risk if you take certain medicines. tell your doctor about all planned medical or dental procedures. eliquis treats dvt and pe blood clots. plus had less major bleeding. both made eliquis the right treatment for me. ask your doctor if switching to eliquis is right for you.
11:54 pm
albreakthrough withyou back. non-drowsy allegra® for fast 5-in-1 multi-symptom relief. breakthrough allergies with allegra®. back now with my panel and i'm going to turn kevin. you were talking about coping mechanisms but this is serious stuff that people are having to deal with. is this early signs of a political price that some may pay for supporting president trump and some of his policies? >> well, look, i think it is less to do with the president's policies. it has much more to do with his democrat -- this enthusiasm among the democratic base where they've defined right now their party's you know, profile with resistant to trump. and it's not necessarily the specifics of legislation, but
11:55 pm
just the fact that they believe that donald trump is just, you know, take the country in the wrong direction. so that -- that -- you know, that energy that is on the democratic side has to be taken very seriously by a lot of republicans because if you couple it with the fact that donald trump has had a hard time with end pindependence during t early part of his administration that is what sets up some of the conditions for a very difficult year in 2018. >> president trump's approval rating now at 38%. his poll numbers should terrify republicans because as he points out presidents are above 50% approval the party loses an average of 14 seats in the u.s. house in the midterm elections compared with an average loss of 36 seats when presidents are below that mark. what do you think? >> i think it's important for the gop to keep focus on their legislative agenda.
11:56 pm
i think i'll ad acknowledge over the last several weeks when hillary lost this campaign democrats have been waking up in the fetal position. there's been a spring in their step over the last few days with all that's unravelled with regard to russia and it's important for the administration and for conservatives to stop the talk on russia and get back focused on the agenda and when they go back in their districts, talk about what they're doing to fulfill the promises they made to their constituents. >> let me just jump in here and i don't mind to cut you off, but shouldn't you and other conservatives and constituents and people around them, shouldn't they be saying that to the president of the united states? he has the megaphone. he sets the news agenda. he sets the message. it's really not those people going home to their constituents. they're just going to hear from the constituents. >> i certainly hope there's
11:57 pm
people in the white house telling him that in regards to stop tweeting about russia. tweet about what you plan to accomplish on your foreign trip. this is an important trip for us to establish our leadership in the world and build our relationships with leaders and reaffirm our unity with allies abroad. >> i mean, he's 70 years old. is he going to change? >> sweet heart, i've got a little experience with men, let me tell you. you really don't change men after 15. no matter what you do, you don't change them. they've got formative years and they're very short. so you can forget, you know, changing an adult man at this time. we -- we were all surprised that he hadn't tweeted for a day and a half or two days. apparently some adult -- some supervising adult hid his phone but he found it this morning. >> i'll agree with ana on changing the man thing. >> no impulse control, so even
11:58 pm
if the special prosecutor, you know, tamps down on leaks on that end, trump can't resist tweeting about russia. >> last word i'll say, check anna's twitter feed. you know what i'm talking about. chris evans? nice job. >> you know when you have a super hero. >> when we come back, why the president reportedly made james comey uneasy. here's to the safety first... i think i might burst... totally immersed weekenders. whatever kind of weekender you are, there's a hilton for you. book your weekend break direct with and join the summer weekenders. i've been blind since birth. i go through periods where it's hard to sleep at night,
11:59 pm
and stay awake during the day. learn about non-24 by calling 844-844-2424. or visit
12:00 am
>> breaking news, president trump calling the russian investigation a witch hunt. this is cnn tonight. i'm don lemon and that's not all. the president insisting to